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Porn and Adultery – A Woman’s Perspective

Last Updated: February 20, 2014

The following is a testimony from Sarah Markley. To read her complete story visit her website.

. . . .

sarah markleySix years ago my life ended . . . or rather, began.

Early in January of 2004 I confessed to an affair, both emotional and physical, that I’d been engaging in for a few years. It was the end of an old way of life for me (and for my husband) and the beginning of something amazing and grace-filled.

During one of the first sessions with our marriage counselor she said, “An affair is not the reason for marriage problems, it’s a symptom”. . . or something like that.

Right, so all of the other things we were engaging in both individually and as a couple were feeding our selfish habits, one of which was a horribly self-destructive affair that I’d been fostering. We, in essence, had a sick marriage and one of the results of that sick marriage was my affair.

Caustic communication with sarcasm as its core value, excessive drinking and elaborate money spending habits were just some of the bad practices we’d built as a couple. Add to that regular viewing of pornography and no boundaries in what we watched or how we each interacted with the opposite sex, and we had a marriage ripe for disaster.

Years before all of this, my husband had been ejected from his Christian middle school for selling porn videos out of his locker. That’s right. Needless to explain in detail, he’d struggled with pornography, like many men, from the time he was very young.

During the first few years of our marriage, both Internet and video pornography became a regular part of our bedroom activities. Even though he introduced it to me, I was a willing participant in the viewing and allowed the images and desires to invade me until it became almost as great an addiction as my husband was dealing with.

He looked at videos.

I looked at erotica websites.

And then together we used pornography as a “third party” when we had sex with each other.

The cycle that pornography created was destructive. It zapped my husband’s desire for me, but it fed my craving for frequent sex. As a result, we became so unevenly matched in desire that most evenings one or both of us was so frustrated with the other that it became a constant source of battle.

Pornography did NOT cause me to have an affair, but it fed my desires in unhealthy ways and was a factor in my downward spiral. It became something I relied upon for arousal. It became something I depended on during our times of sexual interaction. And then it became something I engaged in alone when he was gone on business trips or working late.

Six years ago our lives came to a standstill. I had confessed to an affair with a friend of my husband, God had broken my heart, and I was ready to do anything and everything to fix the mess that I’d made. Although my husband hadn’t engaged in an extramarital affair, he was in as much of a need for redemption as I was.

We spent a couple years living like “monks,” having gotten rid of movies, DVDs, and the TV cable—things that would have been detrimental to our crawl back to Christ. We poured out alcohol, read the Bible from cover to cover and spent hours and hours in counseling sessions.

God had so breathtakingly changed us in January of that year that halting the pornography was just a given at this point. We were so ready to have our lives wrecked by God that locking down our computers was a no-brainer. Our hearts were different: new and alive. The thought of pornography was distasteful to me by now and I didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize my “newlywed” relationship with my husband or my “newlywed” relationship with God. I disciplined myself to try to forget the pictures that had been burned into my mind from years of viewing destructive pornographic images.

Most of it is habit by now. As a couple, we know that when a television show or movie goes “south” we need to switch the channel or turn it off altogether. We still don’t have a cable connection to our home and we’ve tightly locked down the computers at home.

I’ve been able to live six years pornography-free, both in my mind and in practice. I owe it to a heart changed and softened by Christ, and to boundaries that we’ve put in place and adhered to as a couple.

And I’d never go back.

  1. karin.massey

    My husband and I have a business together. So there is a two fold challenge. He had a Damasus experience but is still a dry addict of his short-lived porn addiction free unopened stuff on facebook. I want to to about scenarios of past conversation that were business and marital related. He minimizes with” it was a block and I am forgiven”, not “now that I am thinking clearly I can see how I would do thing 18 degrees differently etc”. Why after two months we both escalate into a vicious cycle, he defensive and me in anger? Prior to repentance, I felt like he thought he was a King and I his subject. Things are different since repentance but the same in the deep things.

    • Your description of your husband as the “dry drunk” is interesting. For a lot of men, that is their experience. The sins underneath the sin of porn have not been dealt with, leading to other outcroppings of sin.

      Here’s what I might say to him: “I know you don’t want to talk about this pornography issue, but I need you to hear me out right now. I believe you are forgiven by God, and I certainly forgive you, but forgiveness and trust are two different matters.” (Forgiveness is giving up your right to seek revenge or hold a grudge; trust is based on someone’s trustworthiness and track record.) “In order for me to trust you again, we need to talk about what you are doing to prevent it and how you are working through the sins deep in your heart that led to the pornography. I want to talk about our marriage, our intimacy, and how we can improve these things.”

      See where that gets you.

  2. Dee

    Thanks Sarah for sharing. . I am in the middle of it all currently. I have been a solid Christ lover for years and find myself in the middle of affair – I am having!! My heart is hard toward my husband, my family and I guess toward God? What do you do with all the compelling emotions and longings for your lover? How do you deal with that. I know what I should do – but my want is for something different. I am so ready to leave I can taste it. Can you offer any words of advice for this hardened heart? I am just about ruined. My husband is trying so hard now and I just don’t want it now.

  3. Sarah, thanks for being so honest; I am encouraged deeply. I honestly wish more people would be as honest and ready to take positive steps to change like you and your partner have have.
    How awesome it is when God intervenes in a real way too.
    Thanks to Covenant Eyes as well given their technology which I have used for over 5 years is a practical and useful tool for my family.

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